Meal Replacement Bars, Snack Bars and Protein Bars!
Oh my gosh there are so many options available out there! Clients are always asking me for my take on the best bars. In order to actually answer that question, there are a few other questions to ask.
- How are you using the bar? Are you using it for a meal? Is it just a snack, meaning you will eat a meal in a couple of hours and need a tie-over till that meal? Is it a pre-workout bar or a post-workout bar?
All of these have different answers and different nutritional requirements of the bar. So how do we break them down? Here are my tips on choosing the bar to serve the need you are looking to fill!
- No matter what your goal is of the bar and absolutely positive always at pre- workout: AVOID sugar alcohols! Everyone has their own tolerance level of them some tolerate 3gms or more without a problem and some have severe gastric distress with that amount. Sugar alcohols are not absorbed into your system so they are very stimulating and can cause a quick evacuation of your gut. This isn’t ideal for a few reasons. You can lose a lot of electrolyte and its very disturbing to your gut microbiome. We all know how delicate that balance is for the microbiome – so avoiding anything that can disturb it is always a good idea! For more on microbiome, check out my fact/info filled presentation on the subject. It also includes many resources and references! Microbiome Presentation
- If you are looking for a meal replacement bar, try to go for the most protein. Most bars will give you 14-20gms of protein in a meal replacement bar. If you are looking for a snack bar 8-15gms protein is suitable and if it’s a pre-workout, look for something that has 10gms or less of protein.
- For a meal or snack bar – choose one that has a higher fiber content to it. Items are considered high fiber if they have 3gms of fiber per 100 calories. A bar with say 5-8gms of fiber would fit the bill for a typical 150-200cal bar. If you are looking at pre-workout, you want one that has the lowest amount of fiber to it because you want to avoid any stimulation on the gut pre-exercise. You also want the energy available in that bar to be accessible immediately for your workout.
- Regardless of the kind of bar you are choosing, the type of protein is not that significant. That is a personal choice. Whey, pea, hemp, soy, even cranberry and rice protein are all great. They each offer a different array of amino acids. If you are tolerant of whey, then this bar is ideal for post workout. If you are not, then a soy based protein bar is second best – these two bars have a complete amino acid profile for muscle recovery. Pea protein and other proteins will fall short in that area. But if that’s what you can tolerate and prefer, anything is better than nothing!
- Carbohydrate is important for any bar that you choose. If it is a pre or post workout bar – anything from 35-45gms of carbohydrate is preferred. If it’s a meal replacement bar, with adequate fiber and protein, then a typical carbohydrate amount will still fall between 25-40gms a bar. And if it’s a snack bar, typical amounts will be in the 15-25gms range.
Click Protein Bars to explore some options that may fit your needs! In addition, this document also contains examples of real food substitutes for the same value you would get from a bar. This is an excellent way to see how some easy and efficient whole food can be on the go as well! Enjoy!
If you have other questions are replacement bars, snacks or meals and what to find out what would work for your fitness and lifestyle regime, feel free to connect with me below:
Lets Chat! – 45min Q&A session
Meet and Greet Before You Book – chat with me to see how I can meet your needs and choose the appt that would fit you best!
Photo by Nature Zen on Unsplash
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Nicole is recognized state-wide and nationally as a Registered Dietitian and is also a Certified dietitian through the state of Wisconsin. She is also a Board Certified Sports Dietitian and a Certified Personal Trainer and Physical Fitness Instructor.
Nicole’s areas of expertise include: Wellness and lifestyle coaching, weight management, behavior modification, eating disorders, vegetarian lifestyles, gluten-free living, sports nutrition, recipe and menu design and development.